NAPLES, Italy — The Navy is now offering some of its junior engineering officers a $50,000 bonus if they sign up for another five years of active-duty service.

In a message released last week detailing the Critical Skills Retention Bonus program, the Navy said the offer is part of its effort to retain an adequate number of officers with certain skills.

"We need to keep a certain number of officers in, so this [bonus] is a means of retaining the right number," said Capt. John Coronado, community manager for the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps.

The program is open to lieutenants commissioned in the 2006 year group and near the end of their service obligation.

Reservists may also be eligible for the extra cash, but only if they have been approved for active-duty recall and are in the 2006 year group. Officers who have applied for conversion into the engineer corps may also be eligible for the bonus. However, their application will be put on hold until they are actually redesignated as CEC officers.

Although the bonus targets the 03 (lieutenant) pay grade, officials say the program helps meet future 04 (lieutenant commander) force requirements for the corps.

"It’s a critical decision point in their career," Coronado said. "These officers come in and their commitment is for four or five years. … Typically at the four-year point, they’re deciding if they want to continue on in the Navy or if they want to get out and pursue something else. … This is a means of retaining the right number."

Only 58 officers will be selected for the bonus this year, Coronado said. Once approved, individuals get a $25,000 lump-sum payment with four succeeding yearly payments of $6,250.

For complete information on the program and how to apply go to the Web site below and click on NAVADMIN 360/09:

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